This Halloween, I had the pleasure of photographing a fabulous party called Halloweird at the City Winery in Lower Manhattan, hosted by ML Presents. While the weather may have been a little cold and drizzly, that didn't stop attendees from coming out dressed to the nines in some of the most creative costumes I've ever seen. They also had a fabulous 80's tribute band called Jesse's Girl, which also plays every Saturday night at Le Poisson Rouge, and they most definitely rocked the house! Not only did they perform some awesome tunes, but they also pulled the crowd up on stage at the end of the night, making for some great photo opportunities. These are some of my favorites from the night, and looking forward to next year's!
Over the weekend, a wonderful organization called Secret Cinema put together a beautiful tribute in honor of Robin Williams by screening Dead Poets Society at the South Street Seaport. There are not many comedians that have touched the lives of so many in such a positive way, and I know I am not the only one mourning the loss of such a beautiful soul. His charisma and character will be greatly missed, and while most of us did not know him, we loved his sense of humor and his inherent ability to make us laugh.
What I found truly special about this event was feeling the collective grief and support of the community, and how everyone who came out to support had a special place in their heart for Robin. I was most touched by the reaction at the end of the film, where everyone in the audience stood with the students on the desk, in a last respectful moment to one of the world's best comedians and kindest human beings. In a strange way, going to this screening was like attending a funeral, and provided me with a small sense of closure, which I'm sure most of us in attendance felt at the closing scene. May we always remember his large heart and tremendous talent, and the deepest sympathy to his family.
Lately, as more and more of my friends have been getting those beautiful engagement rings, I've found myself answering one of the most frequent questions I encounter: "Why is wedding photography so expensive!?" I'm sure I'm not the first to try and tackle the subject, but as it seems to be a consistent question, I thought I would give some insights into what drives photography prices so high when it comes to a wedding.
One of the most pressing aspects of pricing comes from the basic essential; the cost of equipment. To be a good photographer (as in, well-prepared with a backup body should something dreadful happen to your primary camera), the minimum amount of equipment ranges between $3,000-$10,000, depending on the level of quality you want to achieve. And that isn't a one-time fixed cost; a photographer has to continually upgrade their camera body every few years to keep up with the competition of other wedding photographers, as well as replace damaged/broken equipment (because trust me, accidents happen, batteries corrode metal contact plates, and lenses get dropped). Then there's the cost of bags, batteries, memory cards; you know, all the "inexpensive" stuff!
When you couple this base cost with the expenses associated with running a business, the high cost of wedding photography (as well as photography in general) becomes much more transparent to those outside of the photographic business bubble. Photographers (again, people who don't just buy a DSLR camera and think that makes them a photographer) have to invest in photo editing programs (such as Photoshop, $500; Lightroom, $100; CaptureOne, $150; and/or Aperture, $80), which also have to be upgraded every few years to accommodate new file formats on new camera bodies. This also is not including the cost of storage, both in terms of additional hard drives and cloud storage, which range in costs depending on brand/provider, but are also not easy on a budget. And this is all in addition to the cost of an actual computer with which to use all of this equipment on. But this is only one portion of the business expenses.
Unfortunately, hosting a professional-grade website also costs a fair bit of money, both for the domain as well as the hosting, and can range from $50-$300, depending on how professional you choose to go. Add to this business cards, advertising, a studio or workspace, transportation, equipment insurance, and liability insurance, and it becomes quite apparent why there is such a price tag when it comes to running a photography business. And we still haven't gotten to actually paying the photographer for both their time and expertise!
On average, a wedding is a 10-14 hr day, and an additional 1-2 weeks of editing time (because let me tell you, editing the images is 80% of the work when it comes to producing the beautiful images you want at the end of the day), and most photographers have a second shooter or an assistant that they also need to pay for the day of (which typically is anywhere from $100-400, depending on their experience/rate). Wedding photography is also seasonal, where the bulk of work occurs from Apr.-Oct., so a photographer needs to be sure they will make enough in those months to sustain themselves for the whole year. Even if a wedding photographer is booked for every single weekend, all year round, that only totals 104 days of the 365-day year, and typically there are very few, if any wedding bookings from Nov.-Mar., so pricing appropriately is essential to survive the slow season of winter.
So, if you're looking at a photographer that is charging what seems to be a fantastic deal, chances are they don't run a professional business, or have the proper equipment to deliver the quality of imagery you deserve to have on your big day. While you may save some money in the short run, chances are if you're booking something for $500-$1000 on craigslist, you're going to have sub-par pictures. In this particular industry, you really get what you pay for, and unfortunately, once your wedding day is over, the photos will be all you have left. So, my personal bias aside, if ever there was an aspect of your wedding to skimp on, the photography should not be it. And hopefully after reading this, you'll understand the high price tag of wedding photography, and perhaps even respect it!
Last week, I had the lovely pleasure of shooting a baby shower for a lovely woman named Anita. Her sister inquired on whether I would be available to photograph the chic brunch they had planned, and of course I was more than happy to help them document such a special kind of celebration.
The baby, cutely coined "M" at the moment, is not expected to arrive until August, but the anticipation was undeniable! Both family and friends came to share wisdom, words of encouragement, and enthusiasm with this soon-to-be mom.
I think my favorite part of the whole shower was the game they chose to play once the meal had commenced. They created the most adorable version of "Catch Phrase," which of course was baby themed. Overall it was a lovely event that seemed to bring everyone a little closer together, waiting for the arrival of their new family member. Here are some of my favorite shots from the day, hope you enjoy!